Types of Victims

The prosecutor is getting feedback from local law enforcement officers explaining that they are discouraged from making arrests in cases of domestic violence and child abuse. They claim that they have been neither making arrests in domestic violence situations nor arresting both parties when they go out on a call. It seems that abused women often go back to the abusers, and children who get removed from the homes where they have been abused often return after removal. These occurrences have been especially demoralizing to law enforcement.

One of your jobs in working as a victims’ witness assistant is to help educate law enforcement on the nature and behaviors involved in domestic violence and child abuse. The prosecutor’s office has decided that you should present each of the following topics for the next training session:

Topic 1: Domestic Violence: Your goal is to educate law enforcement to use best practices in the investigation of domestic abuse cases. Include the following topics:

  • How to approach a domestic violence situation when responding to an emergency call
    • When the parties should be separated
    • How to interview parties
    • What information needs to be in the report and why
    • How best to help a victim
    • What laws protect victims, including the use of protection orders
    • Why victims return to abusers
    • Length of time it may take to stay away from their abusers
  • Arrests
    • The legal standard needed to make an arrest in a domestic violence case
    • What evidence should be collected at the arrest
    • Are dual arrests effective law enforcement
    • How to assist domestic violence victims
      • Reluctant victims
      • Help for victims

Topic 2: Child Abuse: Your goal will be to educate law enforcement about the dynamics of abuse and neglect cases. Include the following topics:

  • Signs of child abuse and categories (physical, sexual, emotional)
  • Difference between abuse and neglect
    • Legal description of neglect
  • Use of guardian ad litems
    • The legal standards that must be met in removal from the home
    • Termination of parental rights
  • Requirements of Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
  • Role of court-appointed special advocates (CASA) in child abuse and neglect cases
  • Role of Social Services in abuse and neglect cases

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